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Human Organic
Lecture Notes by Hugo Lj. Odhner  

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Part 4, Chapter I


Introduction: The Ends of the Soul

    In DLW 330-335 the three planes of uses are listed: Uses for sustaining the body, for perfecting the rational, and for receiving the spiritual from the Lord.

    In the Animal Kingdom, 464-466, it is similarly shown how the soul operates in the body for a threefold purpose:

    1.     Its proximate end is to form and maintain the body and enable it to function as a physical whole, so that the soul may have an organic tool which can carry out its behests as uses in the natural world and at the same time express and represent the stat of its mind by actions and speech.
    This is accomplished by the soul when it directs and times the storage of energy in the form of tissue material and heat, and the release of this energy in proper series. This proximate end of the soul is largely temporal, since it has regard to its life in the realm of nature.

    2.     The more remote end of the soul is to prepare an abode for its mind, in and by which the soul can freely determine its form and character, using contacts with space and time as a basis of reference.     This operation looks to the development of the human brain and to furnishing the brain cells with the subtlest nutriment that the intestinal chyle and the atmospheres can supply, and exposing the brain to the inmost tremulations and most delicate harmonic vibrations which the environment may offer. For the brain and the nervous system of the body and the surrounding world, and to intermediate between spirit and matter, in action and sensation. Through the rational mind and a uniting medium, the world and heaven are conjoined.

    3.     The final end - and the first to which the soul looks - is that our minds or spirits may become forms of intelligence and innocence, and citizens of a spiritual heaven, in fulfillment of God's purpose in creation.

        To this end the soul or spirit appropriates a substratum of the inmost organic substance of the natural body. This finest substance of nature serves after death to hold the corporeal memory unchanged and quiescent, in entire correspondence with the character man acquired during earth-life. (1274)

    The interior operations of the boyd are governed by the influx of life from the lord through the soul and are not felt by man or he would pervert their order (DP 296:14, 180:6). Still the soul acts always according to the laws of its order and according to certain recognizable principles, such as those of Use, of Series and Degrees. Correspondence Influx. and Forms. (See following treatment.)

A.     THE PRINCIPLE OF USE     (Teleology)

    1.      A characteristic philosophical doctrine, suggested in the preparatory works of Swedenborg(1275) and fully taught in the Writings, is the Doctrine of Uses. Read the posthumous treatise on Divine Love, and Canons, Crea. vii.

    a)     From creation, nothing exists upon the earth which is not for use. (Examples). Atmospheres, waters, and matter, are only means for the generation and production of animate and vegetative forms of life.(1276) The world is a complex of uses in successive order for the human race.(1277) Uses are the ends of creation: nothing can be created except uses.(1278)    
           Everything in heaven, the world, and the human body, both great and small, has been created from use, in use, and for use. The part in which the ultimate (which is use) ceases, is separated as harmful and is cast out as damned.(1279)
            Man is a complex of all the uses in both worlds.(1280) Man is a form of all uses, and all uses in creation correspond to these uses.(1281)
            In the body, whatever any viscus or part requires, it derives from the blood and tissues. "The particulars consider nothing as their own, devote it to the common good wherever required."(1282) The blood is for the body like the "common good" is in a society "The common good exists from the g oods of use which individuals perform; and the goods of use which individuals perform subsists from the common good." (1283)

            Everything in the human body, even excrementitious humors, must perform a use.(1284)

        An illustration of the principle that everything in the body is for a use, is found in the uses assigned to the "veriform appendi." (1285) This organ was long regarded as useless or merely: vestigial. Lately functions have been discovered for the tonsils, the spleen and various glands formerly believed of no use.

b)     Every point in creation flows from a use and tends to a use. (1286) All things in the body are formed according to the
use.(1287) There is a series or circle of uses.(1288)


    The nature of a member or organ is known from its use. The use determines what the organ is in itself, or in its own form; what it is in series with other organs which are contiguous to it and surround it, and which continuously precede or follow it; and what it is in order with those that are above and below... The use and end are ... the very soul of the thing ..(1289)

c)     Uses and their forms make one as the principal and the instrumental.(1290)

    The use existed before the organic forms of the body came forth, and the use produced and adapted them to itself; and not the converse. But when the forms have been produced or the organs adapted, the uses proceed from them; and then it appears as if ... the organs exist before the uses....(1291) In the created universe, use can never be separated from organics .... Every use is therefore first seen from ultimates, because man is born such that he is instructed through sensual things ...(1292)

d)     Those things are called uses which, from the Lord, are in order from creation; not those things which are from man's proprium.(1293) Use is for the sake of others. Use cannot come forth from man, but must be in man from the Lord.(1294) No man is born for any other end than that he may perform a use to the society in which he is and a use in the other life.(1295)
    Uses are uses in the order, degree and respect in which they have relation to man and through man to the Lord.(1296) Since the end of creation is an angelic heaven from the human race ... all other created things are mediate ends; ( 1) for sustaining the body, (2) for perfecting his rational, (3) for receiving the spiritual from the Lord. (1297)  These things cannot be said to be uses from man for the Lord's sake, but from the Lord for man's sake. (1298)
    Good uses or "uses from the Lord mean all things which perfect man's rational and cause him to receive what is spiritual..." Evil
uses are things harmful to man, which destroy his rational and close his spiritual.(1299)
    Superfluity does not take away use, but causes uses to persist.
    Abuse does not take away use except with him who commits
the abuse.(1300)

2.     The uses of all created things ascend by degrees from ultimates, through higher and ever more complex organic forms, as is seen in the three kingdoms of nature; and through man, in whom all degrees of creation are concentrated, these uses ascend - as spiritual use - to God whence they had sprung.(1301)


    In its operations in the body, the soul forms the substances of nature into successive organic degrees, arranged in series and associated in orders. The Doctrine of Series and Degrees teaches the mode by which all things in nature are subordinated and coordinated.(1302)

    1.     Discrete degrees are degrees of successive composition or production, and are formed one from another.(1303) The degrees of each series are homogeneous because from a common origin.(1304) But in the conformation of lower organic degrees, "such things are 'added, from purer nature and then from grosser, as may serve for containing vessels". When a degree has been thus "terminated", it becomes a "plane" which holds and receives the influx(1305) And on the dissolution of the natural vessels the
singulars and particulars of the interior degrees "return to the degree next higher."(1306) Thus "the prior can exist without the posterior, but not the posterior without the prior."(1307)

    2.     Degrees are arranged into series.(1308) Natural examples are the following:

(a)     Spirituous fluid, purer blood, red blood.(1309)
(b)    The simple (or simplest) fibre, the medullary (or compound) fibre, the nerve.(1310)
(c)     Minute fibres, motor fibres, muscle.(1311)
(d)     Corporeal unities (cells), tissues, organ.(1312)
    It should be noted that the "simplex" from which the compounds or lower degrees are formed, are not "simple substances" (like "monads" and "atoms") but the least of their series.(1313)
    Organs are also arranged into series which testify to common uses, and this in correspondence to heavenly societies.(1314) The body consists of forms within forms and series within series.(1315)

3.     Trines. Discrete degrees tend to form tripes, so as to become complete in the ultimate.(1316) The binary series is ever imperfect.(1317)
    The organs of the body also are functionally connected in trinal series: The spleen, pancreas, and liver purify the blood. The pancreas, omentum, and liver "secrete the blood and serum". The pancreatic duct cooperates with the hepatic and cystic to circulate secretions needed for digestion. The stomach, small intestines, and colon prepare the chyle. The kidneys, ureter, and bladder excrete the worthless serum.(1318)

    Pancreas has no relation to blood purification. I find it hard to imagine what is meant by the pancreas, omentum, and liver secreting the blood and serum.
        One might postulate that there is a purifying triad of the blood in the lungs, liver, kidneys; and another in the spleen, lymph nodes, and liver (lymphatic system).     -
    Dr. Robert Alden
    Although not mentioned by Swedenborg, there are also three kinds of blood particles - the platelets, the leucocytes, and the erythrocytes.


    Influx takes place according to "correspondence". To find the causes of the operations and effects manifest in the body, one must explore what things in a superior degree correspond to those in the inferior realm.(1319)

    By analogy and eminence, or by correspondence, causes can be seen as in a mirror.(1320) In the Animal Kingdom(1321) Swedenborg states that "the physical world was purely symbolical of the spiritual world", so that "if we choose to express any natural truth in physical and definite vocal terms and convert these terms into the corresponding spiritual terms, we shall be this means elicit a spiritual truth or theological dogma in place of the physical truth ... This symbolism pervades the living body."-(Examples of this symbolic reasoning are given in the "Hieroglyphic Key".)
    The higher bloods thus contain the "causes" of the quality of the corresponding red blood; the simple fibre the causes of the corresponding artery; the intuition of the mind the causes of the sensations of the sense organs. (1322) But obversely, the nature, form, and functions of the organic abodes of the soul in the inmost recesses of the cortical glands could be inferred by analogy to corresponding structures such as the heart and the lungs, if one only took care to abstract notions which are unsuitable to the higher organics.


1.     The greatest is always represented in the least, the general in the particular; the whole man in the blood corpuscle, which has both soul and body; the brain in the cortical gland; the tongue in each papilla, etc.(1323) For nature is similar in its greatest and its feasts, because "the Divine in the greatest and the least is the same.''(1324)

2.     The body, especially that of man, is a kind of universe or a microcosm which is in a manner exempt from the laws and powers of the macrocosm.(1325) Hence, while all parts tend to nature's center of gravity, the fluids of the body are moved by a conatus of their own and do not recognize the same directions as the sphere outside.(1326)


1.     The influx of the soul into the body is determined by general laws which operate apart from men's knowledge.(1327) Influx is the activity of a superior degree upon a lower one, or of prime substances upon their derivatives. Influx is therefore "successive operation, " i.e., operation by discrete degrees in successive order.(1328) Successive order inflows into simultaneous order.

2.     The soul inflows universally and singularly into the viscera of the body; if this were not so, nothing ordinate or regular could come forth in the body.(1330) The soul is present not here or there but in every part of the body.(1331) There is a reciprocal union, wherefore the body acts from the soul, not the soul through the body.(1332)

3.     As to the nature of the influx of the mind or spirit into the body: "There is not any descent or influx from the brains, that is, from the head into the body, for ... man's mind is his spirit, which is a perfect man and is interiorly in the body everywhere. Thus the words 'descent' and 'influx' are said from appearance". "Man's mind or spirit acts into the body in an instant and acts simultaneously and not successively for the spirit is not in a place ..."(1333)

4.     Conjunction and creation always take place in ultimates.(1334) Hence the generative organs are situated in the lower abdomen. The principle may be illustrated by the union of soul and body which occurs in the blood-corpuscle where the lowest chyle is combined with the life-bearing spirituous fluid in order that the soul may feed and build the body.

    The marrow is a tissue (or organ) which produces the red corpuscle. Although the red cell comprises approximately 1/3 (?) of the blood volume, its chief function is to carry oxygen. In a more universal sense the red cells function only as a relatively small part of the blood. The blood is a carrier also of many electrolytes in venous combinations, hormones, enzymes, nutrients, antibodies, etc.; which have no apparent need for or relation to red cell function. - Dr. Robert Alden 

 5.     Divine influx passes from primes through intermediates into ultimates, and through a connection with ultimates into mediates.(1335) Divine order never stops (subsistit) in the middle and there forms anything without an ultimate, for it is not in its fullness and perfection (in mediates); but it goes even to the ultimate; and when it is in its ultimate, then it forms, and also - through means there gathered - it reintegrates itself and produces further, which is done through procreations ....(1336)

        This illustrates the reason why every spirit must be born a man on an earth. It also shows why the Lord, through the soul, forms the body and brain and, by sensations from the world, prepares the brain as an ultimate for the formation of the mediates, viz., the mind.


1.     The tissues select their nutriment from the circulating vital fluids in an autonomous fashion, and invite the kind and quantity of blood that they require.(1337)

2.     The blood is resolved and is born again in each round of its circulation. Red Blood, xviii, xx, xxiii.

3. There is a constant striving in the body for an equilibrium or a state of equation, especially as to the quality and relative

amount of the various fluids. Life is marked by a perpetual destruction and restoration of the equilibrium.(1338)



    The influx of life accommodates itself to the forms and degrees-of the created universe. In his manuscript on The Fibre (a continuation of the Economy) Swedenborg outlines his concept of these finite forms. (See Diagram.)
    "From the Divine proceeds the spiritual; from the spiritual is created the celestial(1339) is produced and flows the vortical", and so forth. Thus he conceived of six degrees successively derived from the Divine by a process of composition.(1340) When a compound form is dissolved, it reverts to the prior form.(1341)
    "In each degree of creation, when forms are carried up by this ladder, something earthly, material, and infinite is superadded and put on."(1342)
    When the spiritual form inflows into the natural forms of the universe, a series of other forms are produced, called Vital Forms or Souls of varying perfection. Such are angelic forms, human souls and minds, and also the souls of brutes. Vital forms are thus created not only for motion but for the reception of life and intelligence.(1343)
    Besides the "forms of the universe" and "vital forms", there are also "forms of the vegetable kingdom" and "forms of the mineral kingdom.(1344)
    The soul is the form of forms of its body.(1345)n Its immediate tool and offspring is the "spirituous fluid". This subtile natural essence "flashes" through the simplest fibres which weave the entire body. The "simple Fibre" is not to be conceived as a solid substance but "approaches rather to the nature of a fluid."(1346)

        An outline of the fundamental philosophical doctrines to which Swedenborg was led by his preparatory studies, and which became the vehicle for the revealed doctrine of the New Church, is given in "The Principles of the New Philosophy", by Hugo Lj. Odhner.(1347)

 C O M P A R A T I V E   T E R M S
(I Cor. XV.44)
et al
Phil. works Theol. works

Nous or


Soma pneu-
matikon, or
spiritual body

Spirit: Anima,


soul, or
origin of 
movement in
(as 'animal


Limbus, or
link between Spirit and
body; origin of
Archaeus and of 
human seed.
Anima, as
basis of
Soma psy-
chikon, or
mortal body.

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1274 See section IV, G and H (p. F22-F23), on the "Limbus."

1275 As in AK 531, and note m.

1276 D. Wis. viii.; DLW 313ff.

1277 TCR 13.

1278 DLW 308.

1279 AE 1194e. cp AC 503.

1280 D. Love v.4.

1281 DLW 298.

1282 SD 1121-

1283 Char. 127 ff.; D. Love xii: l, 2, xiii. 3.

1284 AC 1103.

1285 AK 138.

1286 AK 531m, 260s.

1287 AK 531m, 284d; I Econ. 251f; 2 Econ. 365.7

1288 AK 464K, 260s.

1289 AK 32.

1290 SD 4630.

1291 AC 4223.

1292 SD 3577.

1293 DLW 298.

1294 DLW 308.

1295 AC 1103.

1296 LW 327.

1297 DLW 327-334, gen. art.

1298 DLW 335.

1299 See DLW 336-339.

1300 DLW 331e.

1301 See DEW 65-68, 170; LJ 9; AC 3702.

1302 I Econ.580.

1303 DLW 184, 195; see section C pages 8 et seq.

1304 DLW 192, 195.

1305 AC 5145, cf  DLW 194.

1306  AC 5114, DLW 194

1307 I Econ. 67, 617.

1308 DLW 214, 215.

1309 I Econ. 95, 96.

1310 DLW 190.

1311 DLW 190.

1312  532 notes, 533 b.

1313 AK 532; I Econ. 592, 593ff, 613ff.

1314 AC 10303: 3; AK 230, 230m.

1315 AK 450

1316  ss 28; Coro. 17; DLW 209.

1317 AK 534, 229, 229m. But compare LJ post


1318 AK 229, 227.

1319 l Econ. 648.

1320  Such correspondences are first suggested in 1 Econ. 649.

1321 AK 293, 293u.

1322 I Econ. 649.

1323 AK 536.

1324 DLW 77; LJ 9.]

1325 AK 147a, 133, 484-86.

1326 AE 159:3; SD 2063,3727,3559,4063.

1327 See concerning general influx.

1328 Infl.1 3.

1329 CL 314.

1330  AC 6338:2.

1331 D. Wis. ii.2e; Inv. 13.

1332 Inv. 48.

1333 Missing work On Marriage, 60, 61.

1334 D. Wis. viii.2:3; HH 315.

1335 D. Wis. viii.2.

1336 HH 315. 261 1338 AK 203z,a, 409s;


1337AK 203, 214r.

1338 AK 203z,a, 409s; TCR478.

1339  The term "celestial" does not here refer to the angelic heaven nor to what the Writings call the celestial or highest heaven.
From about 1738 to 1745 Swedenborg used the term 'celestial' to describe the most complex astronomical form of the universe, the highest degree of the physical world, "perpetually vortical." Other writers have used the word 'astral' to describe this highest form of nature.

1340 Fibre 272, 273. 1

1341 Fibre 273 Cf AC 5114. .

1342 Fibre 271

1343 Fibre 269.

1344 Fibre 270

1345 Fibre 287

1346 Fibre 294

1347 Reprinted from the New Philosophy, Vol. XIIV, no. 3 (July, 1941).

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